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Documentation Centre / Series

Cinema insights: through the window

Le Corbusier states in his book Urbanisme (Paris, 1925) that Adolf Loos once told him that 'a cultivated man does not look out of the window; his window is a ground glass; it is there, only to let the light in, not to let the gaze pass through'. And, consistent until the end, the Austrian architect went so far as to arrange the indoor areas of his residential-style works (and even the layout of fixed furniture) in such a way that it was not possible to access the windows.

However, the windows, balconies, terraces, galleries... those spaces that serve as a transition between the private and the collective space, between the intimate and the public, have become in these days, when lockdown has forced people to stay home, the only non-virtual contact, both visual and even physical, with the outside world.

On this occasion we propose, through a selection of fiction movies, short films and documentaries, to once again enjoy the personal perspective of some of the filmmakers who have used these architectural elements as a symbolic, metaphorical and, in short, cinematographic resource.


Rear Window

Alfred Hitchcock, 1954

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, one of the filmmakers who has most extensively explored the relationship between cinema and architecture, and based on the story It Had to Be Murder (Cornell Woolrich, 1942). The initial scene, with the appearance of the credits on some blinds that open up to show a block yard, already establishes the point of view from the interior of the apartment of the protagonist, the photographer played by James Steward, a frame that will be maintained throughout almost the entire film.
Everything seems to be going normally in the residential complex except for Steward's forced confinement due to his broken leg... until tedium and frustration make him begin to observe the behaviour of his neighbours.


A particular day

Ettore Scola, 1977

Throughout his filmography, Ettore Scola has represented on countless occasions a personal, ironic and sharp vision of the city of Rome, of its urbanism and architecture. In this film, he locates the plot in a large residential building built during the Fascist period on Viale XXII Aprile, known as Palazzo Federici and designed by Mario de Renzi, an architect who carried out several projects during the 1930s in collaboration with Adalberto Libera.
The plot takes place, as the title itself indicates, on a single day, May 6, 1938, while Hitler visits the Italian capital, whose population is overwhelmed by the reception. Only three people remain in the empty building: the doorkeeper, a housewife, Antonietta (Sophia Loren) and a radio announcer, Gabriele (Marcello Mastroianni), and a bird that flies from one window to another, provoking contact between the two.

The house, as the window to the architect's interior,

Alex Duro



This whole set of resources offers us a much more complex and exhaustive overview.


Ester Roldán

Ester Roldán (1976), architect who graduated from the ETSA of Valladolid and DEA from the ETSA of Barcelona.

In 2000, she founded longo+roldán arquitectos with Víctor Longo.